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CodeCup 2004

Competition rules

Registration and submission

Everybody is welcome to compete in the CodeCup. To enter the contest, you simply create a user account and submit your player program. The submission of player programs closes on January 15 2004 at 12:00 GMT.

Before your program is admitted to the contest, it is tested to make sure that it makes valid moves and communicates correctly with the contest system. It is possible to submit updated versions of your program, thus replacing earlier submissions.


Player programs play games against each other in a number of rounds. If the number of contestants is small, we will play a double full tournament. In this case, each contestant plays two games against all other contestants.

If there are many contestants, playing a full tournament would take too much time. In that case, we will start by playing some rounds according to the Swiss tournament system. The Swiss system is such that in every new round, contestants with almost equal ranking will play against each other. The ranking thus becomes more accurate after each round. After only a few rounds, the best players in the competition will be in the top of the ranking. We then take a small group from the top of the ranking, and only those contestants proceed to play a double full tournament in order to determine the final winner.

For each round of the competition, a starting letter is randomly chosen. All games in the round are then played with the same starting letter.


For each game played, two game points are awarded to the winner of the game, and zero game points to the loser. In case of a draw, both players receive one game point. We also keep track of the total number of word points.

If a player makes an invalid move or exceeds the time limit, he loses the game and receives a penalty point for breaking the game rules. His opponent wins the game and receives the two game points. Since the game is not finished, no definite number of word points can be counted. Therefore, we assign zero word points to the loser and 100 word points to the winner.

Contestants are ranked first by game points, then by word points and finally by penalty points. The winner of the competition is the contestant with most game points. In case of an equal number of game points, a better rank is given to contestants with more word points, and (in case of equal word points) to contestants with less penalties.

Test competitions

In the months before the final competition, we will already play a number of test competitions. You can use these test competitions to see how well your program holds up against the other players. Once you have submitted a program, you will automatically participate in all subsequent test competitions. Of course you may afterwards send in new versions for the next competition. That way, the tests are a great opportunity to try out new strategies and fine tune your algorithms. Have a look at the competitions page for the schedule.

During test competitions, only a limited number of rounds will be played. The results of the test competitions do not affect the final competition in any way. The final competiton is the only official CodeCup competition; the test competitions are just for fun and practice.

To keep your game strategy secret from other contestants, we will provide restricted access to the test game reports. Visitors on the website will see only the number of points scored in each game. When logged in, you will also be able to see all input and output of your own program (including the letters but not the positions chosen by your opponent). After the final competition has been played in January, we will provide full access to the test competitions.


We have several mathematically inspired art objects to give away as CodeCup prives. A prize will be awarded to the winner of the final competition, and smaller prizes to the winners of the test competitions.

There is an additional prize for the best contestant who is also a student or teacher on a highschool in the Netherlands. This is the Windesheim prize of € 250, made available by Windesheim Educatief.